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going back to work after having babies.

(40 Posts)
Fennel Sun 06-Sep-20 18:01:36

I've been following this series on tv and got up to the 70s -
Reminds me so much of my struggles to combine work with motherhood.
I'm not that keen on Giles Coren, but identify with the mother in the kitchen. Especially when the time came to go back to work.
I went back to work in '66, when I was pregnant with my youngest of 3. And mostly after that until 1991 when I was lucky enough to get an early retirement deal.
Looking back, I think this was the main reason for the problems with my ex, the father of my children. He couldn't cope with me seeming to be in competition with him. He wasn't basically a bad man.
Have things changed much since then? Do husbands still resent their wives working and bringing in the family income?

Chewbacca Sun 06-Sep-20 18:20:11

Gosh, I hope not Fennel; I'd like to think that any modern man would be supportive of his partner's career and be proud of her professional achievements. After having my DC, I went back to work part time, purely because H travelled a lot with his job and childcare was impossible to get. That meant that I didn't return full time to my profession until DC was at senior school. But H did resent the hours I worked then, particularly if I had to work late to prepare a case for court the next day. He certainly didn't make it easy. But that was decades ago and I'd like to think that couples today work as a team, not as 2 individuals in competition with each other.

Iam64 Sun 06-Sep-20 18:32:19

Fennel, my experience with my children and their wide friendship group is that things are indeed very different than they were in the 60's and early 70's. My exhusband told me in 1977 that he couldn't understand my interest in feminisim or my feelings of dissatisfaction "I let you work, don't I". That was a death nell, along with many others. I was living separately within the year.

My second (current as Terry Wogan would have said) marriage is a partnership. We both wanted children and were clear this would be joint parenting. Our daughters have moved into their own families with clear expectations of shared parental responsibilities. From what I see, their friendship group is very similar. The close group of friends did their best to share their children during the awful lock down period when many of them were working from home, with none of the usual grandparents in support.
I suspect the women still do the bulk of the organising of dental/doctors/birthday parties etc but the men seem to be very active parents.

Grandmabatty Sun 06-Sep-20 19:17:46

My ex was happy when I was working at a job that had few prospects but when I went into teaching he changed his attitude and became obstructive. He couldn't stand me doing well and making friends and made me miserable for a long time.

Cobweb01 Mon 07-Sep-20 09:50:33

My husband has just been made redundant with a basic, paltry redundancy that will last a few months and our landlord has also lost his job (same industry but works abroad) so needs his house back. My wage is not much but it will pay the rent if not much else. If I wasn't working, we wouldn't even be able to do that and looking for somewhere to rent is hard enough on a time limit. My husband is a hard worker and very grateful for everything I contribute financially and supports me in any venture e.g. I have just changed jobs. I think the majority of men are like this these days but definitely not all! We share our finances and consider everything (bills and income) 'ours' but I am aware that many couples have separate finances and it suits them. My first husband considered all the bills mine and all the income his!

Smileless2012 Mon 07-Sep-20 09:57:02

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's redundancy Cobweb and hope that things settle down for you both very soon.

We've always had a joint savings, bank accounts etc. I was lucky that I didn't need to work for financial reasons and didn't go back to work until both of our boys were in full time education.

We eventually took over and ran Mr. S.'s family business together until he retired. I took care of the accounts and staffing issues and he took care of everything else.

luluaugust Mon 07-Sep-20 09:58:27

I maybe a little older than many of you and my husband's idea of teamwork was, he went to work and I stayed at home with the children. By the time the youngest went to school I then got a part time job. My DDs and DIL all follow a career and two out of three work full time. One of them went back to work soon after the baby arrived and I do think now they are nearly grown up she does feel she missed out.

Mollygo Mon 07-Sep-20 10:21:05

I stayed home with children until school started, then I worked and still work. DH worked, but chose to give up work and do full time child care for GC. He’s happy, I’m happy, though we’re both happier now I work fewer hours.

Kamiso Mon 07-Sep-20 10:21:15

Perhaps I should be more appreciative of my OH. I’ve generally had to work to contribute to keeping a roof over our heads. Property prices took off whilst we were courting and we often scrambled to keep up.

Apart from making his own bed OH didn’t have to help at all growing up partly because he was at boarding school.

When we were first married we both started doing the housework on Saturday mornings and more or less carried on from there. He also cooks more often than I do nowadays because of the nerve pain I have.

My son was brought up to help in the house and so were my daughters. My DIL would have like to stay at home but job shares now. Both my DDs work though DD1 had a few years out. She was busy on various school committees and is a bit sad now that so many school events are limited as so few helpers are available to do the donkey work to get them off the ground.

Supermarket shop today so I’d better get moving.

I know I shouldn’t but I can still get snappy with my OH.

polnan Mon 07-Sep-20 10:21:45

another oh gosh from me.. just read the other thread.
"am I being petty?"

now this one,,
again, no! my dh never minded me being the main wage earner, after the first few years,, that is how our lives evolved.

even encouraged and helped me with my chosen career, and studying... was always there for me..

my eldest ds , just into his early 50`s, he also has no problem if his wife becomes main wage earner, and also youngest ds,, gosh!

H1954 Mon 07-Sep-20 10:36:05


My ex was happy when I was working at a job that had few prospects but when I went into teaching he changed his attitude and became obstructive. He couldn't stand me doing well and making friends and made me miserable for a long time.

Mine was exactly the same! Never wanted me to learn new skills, hated the fact that I gained qualifications he didn't have, resented me advancing my career and despised me meeting people from all walks of life! I didn't take me long to realise that I had married a chauvinistic, manipulative, controlling bully although he was very happy to try to get his hands on my pay check!

4allweknow Mon 07-Sep-20 10:54:48

When DC young I couldn't go back to work as DH worked different hours most days and was often away from home. No family to help out though GPs in those days weren't expected to become carers as they seem to be nowadays. Only when established at school did I find a part time job eventually going full time. At no time did DH ever object to me working. Once family had all gone to Uni he even undertook some cooking when his hours allowed. Today's partners must be accustomed to wives/Mothers working as its been the norm for decades now.

Aepgirl Mon 07-Sep-20 11:09:03

I don’t think most husbands resent their wives working - after all it ensures that they have nice holidays, the occasional meal out etc.

paddyanne Mon 07-Sep-20 11:30:52

I think I live in a different world from most of you .I didn't know anyone who was a stay at home mum.Most worked in offices or factories and were back at work within months if not quicker I think 6 weeks was the norm.
.I was back at my office the day after I got out of hospital ,my daughter was 8 days old .I was lucky thatI could take her with me and she spent her first months in reception in her pram being chatted to my staff and customers .My last baby was very prem so I spent a lot of time in SCBU with him but walked down to work for part of the day where my 10 year old joined me after school.We met at work when I was OH 's boss and we worked together until lockdown 46 years later ,we might not go back .

icanhandthemback Mon 07-Sep-20 11:33:52

Some do, some don't. I don't think you can generalise. I know my son would love his wife to earn more than him, allow him to be a house husband/father and take the pressure off him. One of my stepson's has a wife who earns big money compared to him and he is quite happy although his wife wants him to earn more. Another one of them prefers his wife to say at home provided she is happy to. 3 men from with one family all with different views.

paddyanne Mon 07-Sep-20 11:45:56

A difference in attitudes came from a friend who canvasses for the SNP ,he has done this since Winnie Ewing stood for Hmilton in 1967 .He says that back then when a woman answered the door and he said what party he represented the usual amswer was " sorry son I'd like to support Winnie but my man says I've got to vote Labour" I dont know any woman who would do that nowadays .

Sheilasue Mon 07-Sep-20 11:57:39

I went back to work as an evening office cleaner when my children were young my dh used to look after the children as they were not quite school age, in the 60s 70s you had children and stayed at home till they went to school.
Once mine started school I was offered a job as a Meal supervisor/TA at their school, which worked out well for holidays. I had to work my husband didn’t earn a fantastic wage and I have always liked to earn my own money.It was never a problem for us. We needed the money.

WeeMadArthur Mon 07-Sep-20 12:21:54

All men are different but I think today they still expect a well kept house, food on the table, clean and tidy kids, sex on tap and a partner earning a wage too. And that is more of a struggle for women as they have all the wifework of remembering birthdays, sorting out all school stuff etc on top of a day job. My DH is oblivious of most school stuff even though he gets a email like me as he assumes ( correctly) that I’m dealing with it. He has no idea what days DS has to wear PE kit, when homework is handed in, what days he has school dinners ( or how they are paid for) or what goes in a lunchbox ( indeed one rare Friday when I was away for a friends 50th he picked our son up from school and just dumped all the bags in the living room) They were still there two days later when I got back, including the packed lunch with the milkshake in it! Never occurred to him to clean anything, or check for homework). His attitude to anythig work related seems to be “that’ll do”. Most men should count themselves lucky that most women are picking up a lot of slack to make sure everything runs smoothly.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 07-Sep-20 12:39:04

I think that our children's generation are inclined to respect each other's right to work, but amongst our grandchildren's the pendulum seems to be swinging back.

Young men, from the time they start working, quite often do resent their girl-friends working, especially if the girls earn more than they do.

Some young women are staying at home while their children are small, which is fine if this is what they really want to do and feel is best for their children. Unfortunately, no money goes into their pension funds while they are housewives and mothers and they have no income.

Getting back into employment later on will be hard.

Violence in the home seems to be on the increase too. Most of the victims are women, which doesn't make me feel confident that women are respected greatly in the over all scheme of things.

Romola Mon 07-Sep-20 13:36:23

I went back to work when the children went to school. It was just as well I had a decent job in the 80s as my DH lost two jobs within 5 years and our DS and DD were teenagers. Eventually he started his own business which did well, but to begin with I was the only breadwinner, taking on extra hours and we also had a foreign student lodger.
Not an easy time, but it sort of increased the respect I got from the rest of the family.
My DD would love to stay at home with her children, and almost resents being so super-educated that she feels she has to use it!

Marjgran Mon 07-Sep-20 14:35:25

The reverse, in my AC lives partners more likely to resent a non working partner helping with the bills...

Callistemon Mon 07-Sep-20 14:36:13

Most worked in offices or factories and were back at work within months if not quicker I think 6 weeks was the norm.

I'm curious - who did the childcare?
There were few, if any, nurseries when my DC were babies and pre-school and many young parents did not have any family near by to help. Indeed, many had OH who worked away too.

Fennel Mon 07-Sep-20 16:47:58

Maybe that's where the grandparents came in, Callistemon.
Before familes started to move around the country and the globe we depended a lot more on the extended family.
In my case we were living in Singapore and had live-in help.
I tried to keep up the breast feeding by dashing home every few hours.

Callistemon Mon 07-Sep-20 16:52:25

Maybe that's where the grandparents came in, Callistemon.

That was my point, though. We did not have family ie grandparents nearby and in fact, I didn't know of any grandparents who did the childcare on any permanent basis.

Families have always moved around - we think they didn't but in fact old censuses show us a different picture.

M0nica Mon 07-Sep-20 16:57:00

Both DH and I had working mothers. My going back to work and resuming a successful career was never an issue

I grew up in a home where if my mother were doing any housework when my father was home, he was helping her. I never saw my father sitting down relaxing while my mother was doing anything around the house.

All men are different but I think today they still expect a well kept house, food on the table, clean and tidy kids, sex on tap and a partner earning a wage too.

I have never met any men like this.

DH helped all he could but his work took him away from home a lot, often at short notice, and for unpredictable lengths of time, but I knew that when I married him. He nearly missed the wedding because he was stuck offshore in a tanker and they could not get into port.